Discriminatory behavior towards a person with Alzheimer's disease: Examining the effects of being in a nursing home

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Objectives: This study examined determinants of discriminatory behavior towards a person with Alzheimer's disease (AD) using an attribution model. More specifically, the effects of residing in a nursing home compared with the community were examined. Method: A phone survey was conducted during the summer of 2007 with a representative sample of 501 lay persons (mean age = 49) in Israel. Information regarding participants' discriminatory behavior towards a male person with AD was elicited using a vignette methodology. The effects of emotional reactions, perceptions of dangerousness and responsibility of the person depicted in the vignette as well as perceptions about the susceptibility of developing Alzheimer's disease were examined together with the effects of place of residence. Results: Four forms of discriminatory behavior were found: coercion to restraint physically, coercion to restraint medically, segregation and avoidance. Results of the study provided partial support for an extended version of the attribution model, in that negative emotions were found to increase discrimination, whereas pity decreased avoidance. Perceptions of dangerousness were one of the main variables predicting discrimination. Contrary to the hypothesized relationships, being in a nursing home did not increase discrimination. Conclusion: The present study adds new information about factors associated to the stigma of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-794
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Discrimination
  • Nursing home
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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